Socialwork Today

Socialwork Today

Technology Tackles Aging-In-Place

Out of Sight, But Not Out of Mind — Technology Tackles Aging-in-Place By Kate Jackson, Social Work Today, Vol. 4, No. 7, Page 22

If we could, all of us would likely choose to age at home. Technology is helping to make that ideal reality for many people ..... click to see the full story about e-pill Medication Reminders in Socialwork Today

E-Pill Stefan Solvell, president and manager of e-pill, LLC, provider of practical patient compliance and age-in-place products, explains that research has revealed that one-quarter of all nursing home admissions are due to poor medication compliance. Even in the wider population, statistics suggest that on any given day, only one-third of prescriptions written by physicians make it to the pharmacy and are taken on a regular basis, and another one-third are not taken in the way doctors intended for them to be taken. One-third of prescriptions never get filled.

“The statistics are very clear, and it’s obvious that you cannot expect to get efficacy from any drugs unless you take them,” says Solvell. The situation can be exacerbated by age, since elders are likely to be taking multiple medications with often complicated dosing schedules.

In response to this problem, Solvell’s company has created the e-pill, electronic devices that help elders remember to take the appropriate medications, at the right time, and in the right amounts. The e-pill is actually the company’s generic term for all the items in its catalog of products that assist elders with medications.

Solvell had been a vice president of marketing at a large pharmaceutical company and was concerned that no matter how good the medications were, if the patients didn’t take them or take them properly, the drugs were useless. The result of his concern was a variety of patient compliance devices—30 different types of e-pills ranging in price from approximately $35 to several hundred dollars—to meet a variety of needs. For example, some elders simply need reminders to take medications. Others need to be reminded if they have already taken their drugs. There are also special products for people with specific needs, such as patients with Parkinson’s disease or diabetes. This simple technology, he says, not only keeps elders in their own homes longer, but it also helps keep them out of the hospital.

As much as 10% of all hospitalizations in the United States result when physicians need to monitor medication use or ensure compliance. “That’s an expensive way to create compliance,” says Solvell. For elders, the most popular e-pill, he says, would be the automatic pill dispensers—devices that hand out the right medications, at the right time, in the right dosages. e-pills are not covered by insurance at this time, but Solvell envisions a time when healthcare professionals might write prescriptions for these products that will be be filled at pharmacies and by durable medical equipment companies.

For more information, visit: Medication Reminders, Parkinson's patients
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